If you keep up with basketball news sites, basketball blogs, basketball Twitter, basketball podcasts, and actually, you know, watching basketball, that’s an awful lot of information and speculation to process. FRANCHISE, a new oversized and beautifully designed magazine, instead hits an outlet pass to another part of your brain with a largely visual appreciation of the game. It spreads the floor with portfolios of UNA Studio’s menacing illustrations, Theophilus Mensah’s expansive photography of pickup players in Ghana, and NBA Injury R3port’s absurd comics rendered massive.
FRANCHISE was created by editor-in-chief Justin Montag and creative director Chris Dea, two co-workers up in the Bay Area who watch basketball together. During a trip to London, Montag saw how many cool magazines England had about soccer (or football, or whatever), and was inspired to team with Dea to create something similar about the game they love, soon adding third founder Brock Batten for business development. “What started off as a cheap, 100 or 150 copies at Kinko’s idea spun to this after we started thinking about it some more, brainstorming, and reaching out friends and friends of friends,” says Montag.
Though FRANCHISE does feature a conversation between Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and the team’s longtime supporter Diplo, as well as a short interview with artist Lauren Fisher, who has created 3D court projections for NBA, for now, words are not the focus. “When we started, we were thinking a 80:20 ratio, visual to text. We ended up somewhere more around the 95:5,” says Montag. “We definitely want to expand the text part a bit more, but digital is still very text heavy, so with print, people are starting to just look. It’s more of a visual pleasing medium.”
The entirely self-funded magazine in currently available for sale at stores including Ace Hotels across the country, The Athletic Community in Portland, Friends & Neighbors in Austin, and BookShop in Oakland, with plans for a larger presence in Los Angeles in New York. Now it’s up to you to take it to the hole.